…We only discounted N91 billion from N215 billion owed by FG
..Lagos Liaison Office was not sold- Aniagwu
By Festus Ahon
AGAINST speculation in some quarters that his administration has borrowed N850 billion Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Wednesday said the State government only discounted N91 billion from the N217 billion being owed by the Federal Government.
Okowa who made the clarification during an interactive session with civil servants in the state in Asaba, said that the N91 billion that was discounted was tied to specific projects for the overall good of all Deltans.
The Governor who acknowledged that the successes recorded by his administration wouldn’t have been possible without the cooperation and input of the civil service, thanked the workers for their overwhelming support towards the success of his administration since it came on board in 2015.
He, therefore, appealed to them to sustain the support to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led-administration in the state by voting for the party in Saturday’s gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections.
While noting that civil servants played critical roles in oiling the wheels of governance in any society, he disclosed that the financial status of the state was not healthy when he assumed duties as governor in 2015.
According to him, it took the grace of God and the cooperation of workers in the state as exhibited by labour leaders as well as the dogged commitment of my administration for the challenges to be frontally mitigated.
In another development, Delta State Government, Wednesday, debunked allegations that it had sold the Liaison Office in Lagos, saying it only engaged property developers to build luxury flats that would add more value to the state.
The State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu who stated this at a news conference in Asaba, said the state government decided to rebuild the property with a view to adding more value to the government.
Aniagwu said the state government entered into a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement with property developers and managers to develop the site to a 10-storey 60 luxury flats that would earn the government further income.
According to him, the state government intended to build a 21-storey building on the site but the plan wasn’t approved by the Lagos State Government because of series of building collapse.
“Critics are painting pictures that are at variance with reality and they are now accusing us of selling off the Liaison Office in Lagos.
“That is far from the truth. Before 2018, we had assessed the state of our Liaison Office in Lagos and it was not in the best of shape so we decided that given the prime position in Ikoyi what is possible that will favour the state at the same time give us value.
“We carried out a feasibility study to bring in experts in construction and management to build a 21-storey building but unfortunately we could not get the approval of the Lagos State Government because of series of building collapse in both the Island and the mainland.
“Eventually we got approval to construct 10-storey building that will house as much as 60 luxury flats. We also reasoned that it will be proper to allow the developer develop it with a reasonable stake of 21 flats.
“In the meantime while the construction is on, the civil servants at the Liaison Office have been moved to a rented apartment and they will return to occupy two or more flats upon completion.
“Apart from gaining more value for the property, we would also gain the expertise of the property developers and managers to manage the property,” he said.